Of failed restaurants and poor branding


Today a report in the times of India (read here) and also elsewhere, reported that Saurav’s – multi cuisine fine dining restaurant by Saurav Ganguly was shut down after a period of about seven years. Sometime back there were also news about one of Sachin tendulkar’s restaurant also closing down. Though another one is running. Sehwag has also had problems with his restaurant venture in Delhi.

Photo Courtesy - Urban Hippie love - flicker

There are some other restaurants such as that of zaheer Khan that are doing relatively good, and if newspapers reports are to be believed, the restaurant is now going to expand nationwide.

Of course why these restaurant failed or why they succeed can be of immense and deep discussion for any case study at a business school. I have another thought as to what I feel can succeed and maybe why.

India perhaps is one of the few nations where a single sport grabs so much of attention that other sports/ event can only dream of. Everybody for example, talks about Tendulkar as the first recipient of the Bharat ratna ( and deservedly so) but hardly anything is written or discussed about any other sportsperson.

Who makes these cricketers superstars ?

In my opinion it is the masses. Of course, fandom has no class boundaries, and cricketers would have a fanbase across all classes.

So then why focus on restaurant that would cater only for a specific section of society. A fine dining restaurant would definitely not attract the masses. Its nice to have a classy restaurant. But then again in my opinion that’s not going to be doing great business.

If I have money, and I do eat out lets say twice a month then in that case I would like to experiment. Say for example, one time it would be a restaurant in a good starred restaurant and another time it could be a fine dining restaurant of these star cricketers. I am not going there for the food; I am going there for the ambience and to relive the cricketing memories of the star. Then name works and the business is good as long as there are people to spend that kind of money that fine dining demands.

And here I think I can take a safe bet that a fast food chain such as Mc Donalds’ does far better business in terms of revenue than any fine dining restaurant. And the surprising part is Mc Donald’s hardly has any qualitative competition in India. There are fast food chains such as Wimpy’s, Nirula’s, and even the new entrant FX. But the market for a simple, quick bite, affordable food is far from saturated.

If I were to advise any celebrity, (or was one myself) I would definitely focus on the masses. After all it’s the masses that make a star or a celebrity, why not have services that is focused on them. Smart marketers do use celebrities for selling products ranging from cell phones to motorcycles. So why is it that the restaurant is focused on a small section of society.

Think about it, if there was a fast food chain, that was owned by the cricketers and gave direct competition to the likes of Mc Donald’s where would you prefer to go. At least half the time if not always? This is where in my opinion any celebrity should focus on. Not on exclusivity, but on inclusiveness. The more the stars are closer to their biggest fan base, the more revenue the new service will generate.

Lets look at an example, while in Europe, the football clubs have there own restaurant, to the best of my knowledge the same are not exclusives, but rather for the middle class fan bases. Can the same be said about India? Afraid not.

So how would I summarize this?

A celebrity or a star should not focus on having any exclusive service. For a business to survive, grow and expand, it should focus on tapping on its most important source of fan base – the middle class. I doubt that doing so would make any restaurant or any other business fail.


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